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Now's the perfect time to compost, even with some snow

Now's the perfect time to compost, even with some snow

With the weekend looking warmer, don’t just daydream about the tomato-growing days to come. Get out there and pitch some compost over the garden. Even if there’s snow on the ground, you can still toss away – your spring tomatoes will thank you later.

Why winter composting is good
Compost needs time to mellow or break down. That’s why it works to put it down during the winter, even if it isn’t tilled into the soil. As it breaks down, compost creates a homogeneous soil mixture ripe with microbial activity. This process does not add nutrients to the soil, but it does improve the soil’s capacity to hold onto both nutrients and water. That is why compost is so good for the garden and of course, the plants that grow there.

How to shop for compost
Shop for compost that is well-aged and low in salt. Also, look for varieties that have little or no fillers. Compost by nature is all organic, so composts that are labeled “mixes” contain sand or other inorganic fillers that are generally less optimal.

How much should I buy?
The rule of thumb is one cubic yard of compost per 100 square feet of garden. However, if your soil is healthy, you can probably use less. The best value is in bulk purchases, so if you have a garden with 100 or more square feet, a pick-up load will likely be your least expensive option. Most pick-ups hold one and a half to two cubic yards. If you order bulk delivery from a supplier, the minimum order is usually five yards or more.

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